Robert Henke, born 1969 in Munich, Germany, builds and operates machines that create sounds, shapes and structures.
Coming from a strong engineering background, Henke is fascinated by the beauty of technical objects, and developing his own instruments and algorithms is an integral part of his creative process.
His material is computer generated sound and images, field recordings, photography and light; transformed, re-arranged and modulated by mathematical rules, real time interaction and controlled random operations. Robert Henke’s work has a particular focus on the exploration of spaces, both virtual and physical. Many of his works use multiple channels of audio or are specifically conceived for unique locations and their individual spatial properties.
The results include music on the edge of contemporary club culture, surround sound concerts, compositions in the tradition of academic computer music, photography, audiovisual installations, site-specific sound art and publicly available software. His long term musical project Monolake, founded in 1995, became one of the key icons of a new electronic club music culture emerging in Berlin after the fall of the german wall.
Robert Henke is also one of the main creators of the music software ‘Ableton Live’, which since its invention in 1999 became the standard tool for electronic music production and completely redefined the performance practice of electronic music.
He writes and lectures about sound and the creative use of computers, and held teaching positions at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, and the Studio National des Arts Contemporains – Le Fresnoy in Lille, France.
His installations, performances and concerts have been presented at Tate Modern London, the Centre Pompidou Paris, Le Lieu Unique Nantes, PS-1 New York, MUDAM Luxembourg, MAK Vienna, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin and on countless festivals.
a complete new version, the result of performing Lumière for more than one year, condensed into a more sophisticated, more complex, more fragile, more massive synaesthetic experience! photos and more info online in early February.
Based on self written software, this work on the edge of concert and site specific installation finds previously unseen beauty and minimalistic elegance in a commonly underrated medium. High power lasers draw complex morphing shapes and connect points in space. Lumière combines precise geometric figures with floating organic structures, presenting the archaic sign language of an alien culture communicating via emerging and disappearing traces of extremely bright light.
Percussive and textural sonic events provide a counterpoint to the visual rhythm, resulting in a multi sensorial experience which at times is fragile and quiet, at others massive and overwhelming. Each Lumière performance is a unique and site specific real time exploration of synchronicity and divergence, of light and darkness at the limits of perception.
Since Lumière is site specific, each room demands an adapted placement of the lasers. The laser beams connect the screen with the auditorium, creating a three dimensional object floating in the middle of the room above the audience.
Music, sound design, laser control software development, visual programming, and real time interaction: Robert Henke.
Assistance and support: Michael Sollinger, Susanne Kirchmayr, Stefan Brunner, Michel Wähling, Christian Losert, Sebastian Drack, Peter Nyboer / Livid, Vance Galloway, Timothy Fellsrow. Film & still photography by Andreas Gockel, Michel Wähling. Lasers by LaserAnimation Sollinger, Berlin.